Monday, August 15, 2022

Pierce-Arrow Automobile Advertisements

Pierce-Arrow automobiles (1901-1938, Wikipedia entry here) were very expensive.  They also were well-engineered and built using top-quality craftsmanship.

What they were not was stylish.  Pierce-Arrows were conservatively shaped, seeming several model years behind the designs of competing brands such as Packard and Cadillac.

One thing Pierce-Arrow did well was advertise.  That was in the days before television, when carmakers spent much of their advertising budgets on advertisements appearing in magazines.  Pierce-Arrow's advertising people used quality illustrators for images.  An interesting quirk was that the cars were often placed in the background of stylish, upscale people, helping to create a prestige image for a prestige car brand.

You might want to get details on some of the artists featured below using Google, Bing, or some other Internet search engine.

Click on images to enlarge.


1910 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Adolph Treidler
Treidler did many early ads, then in 1929 created images with the same theme as some of those early ones.  At that point, Pierce-Arrow was harking back to its pre- Great War heyday.

1910 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Gil Spear
Poster-style illustration using tempera or gouache.

1911 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Ludwig Hohlwein
Hohlwein was for many years one of Germany's top poster artists.

1911 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Lewis Fancher
Another poster-style illustration.

1919 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Simon Werner
I find the young lady more fetching than the car.

1926 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, artist unidentified
Can anyone identify who painted this?

1927 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, artist unidentified
This one, too.

1930 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Will Foster
An example of a Pierce-Arrow nostalgia advertisement.  Note the small image of the first ad art, also probably by Foster.

1931 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Myron Perley
I think the best-looking Pierce-Arrows were built around 1930.

1932 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Paul Gerding
Note the contra-jour coloring.  Very nice.

1934 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement, art by Floyd Davis
Moderne was in vogue in 1934.  Despite the Great Depression that was snuffing out Pierce-Arrow, upscale people are featured as usual.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Pietro Annigoni, Portrait Artist

Pietro Annigoni (1910-1988), as mentioned here, was one of a small group of Italian artists who signed a manifesto of Modern Realist Painters (pittori moderni della realità) in 1947.

He is best known for his portrait work, though he dabbled in other subjects and media.  Some of his more sketchily-made portraits and studies contain loose, nearly abstract areas, but facial features were strongly naturalistic.

Examples of his portraits are shown below.


Self-Portrait - 1946

Portrait drawing
Probably a study that focuses on the subject's face, leaving the rest loosely indicated.

Unknown subject
A similar exercise, but mostly painted (might her head be a drawing?).

John F Kennedy - 1961
Many Annigoni portraits were painted on wood panels. But this Time Magazine cover portrait is watercolor on paper.

Margaret Rawlings, actress, Lady Barlow - 1951
Annigoni exaggerated some of her features.

Margaret Rawlings (Lady Barlow) and Annigoni - detail of NPG image - 1951
Yet she seemed pleased enough to pose for this photo with the painting.

Duchess of Devonshire, Deborah Mitford Cavendish - 1954
One of the famous Mitford sisters.

Deborah Vivien Cavendish (née Freeman-Mitford), Duchess of Devonshire; Pietro Annigoni - NPG image detail - 1954
She was about 34 years old at the time, but he seems to have slightly flattered her, unlike the Margaret Rawlings portrait above.

Mrs Woolfson
Cool, yet with drama.

Princess Margaret - 1957

Queen Elizabeth II - c.1955

Queen Elizabeth II - Her Majesty in Robes of the British Emprire - 1969

Study - Queen Elizabeth II - Her Majesty in Robes of the British Empire - 1969

Monday, August 1, 2022

Camouflaged Aircraft Factories

Military-related camouflage attracted the attention of a number of artists, some of them well-known in their day, including Abbott Handerson Thayer, Solomon J. Solomon and Norman Wilkinson (a list of camoufleurs is here).

Their work mainly had to do with deceptive coloring.  Another approach was more architectural.  That was used to disguise large areas.

For example, above are reconnaissance photos taken of Hamburg, Germany during World War 2.  They show that the downtown end of Alster Lake was covered so as to suggest the city center was farther east than it actually was.  The nearby harbor industrial area was more difficult to disguise in this manner.  As it happened, much of the city was later wiped out by massive Royal Air Force raids.  

The main subject of today's post is camouflage of American aircraft factories on the West Coast.  At the time of World War 2, much of US aircraft industry was out of range from enemy attack.  The exceptions were vital facilities close to the Pacific Ocean, and within reach of potential Japanese attackers launched from aircraft carriers.

The form of camouflage selected in the weeks following the Pearl Harbor attack was making the factories appear to be innocent neighborhoods.  These neighborhoods were clearly fake when viewed at close range.  But that was thought to be good enough, because attackers in the heat of combat were under psychological strain while having little time for contemplating a target area.  That is, the hope was that attackers' bombs would be poorly aimed, missing many vital areas.

We now know that the Imperial Japanese Navy was essentially incapable of attacking the West Coast using aircraft carriers at the start of the war.  And after most of their large fleet carriers were destroyed at Midway in June 1942, such attacks were military impossible other than as suicide missions.

Nevertheless, those camouflage neighborhoods remained in place until after the war ended.  I remember seeing the Boeing factory camouflage when I was a young boy.

Below are photos of major West Coast camouflage projects.  The ones in California were more successful than the one in Seattle because their neighboring topography and settlement patterns were much easier to blend into.


View of the Douglas factory camouflage in Santa Monica.

Douglas camouflage at Long Beach.

Now for Lockheed camouflage in Burbank.  In those days, Burbank was at the edge of suburbs, not built-up as it is today.

Even the tarmac was painted to help confuse analysis of aerial reconnaissance photos.

Large areas of netting were used to cover non-structural areas that otherwise would have revealed aircraft that had rolled off the assembly line.  Above is a Constellation transport and a number of P-38 fighters.

Even the large parking lot was covered.

Boeing's Plant 2 in Seattle was another matter.  On the near side is the Duwamish River.  On the far side are the Boeing Field runway and storage areas for completed B-17 Flying Fortress bombers.  The nearest residential area is South Park, on the near side of the river.  Blending was not practical.

At best, this camouflage might confuse an attacker who hadn't been briefed that the factory was between the river bridge and the runway.

View of the roof camouflage.  That hip roof house in the center is typical of new housing construction in Seattle around 1940.

A Seattle Times photo of Riveter Rosies taking a sun break on the roof during Seattle's six-week July-August summer.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Anglada Camarasa's Women

In 2013 I wrote about Hermenegildo Anglada Camarasa (1871–1959); his brief English language Wikipedia entry is here.

My post mentioned that:

"Spanish artists have the reputation of being especially fond of the color black, and Anglada used his share.  But he also made good use of bright colors to the point where some of his work has been associated with Fauvism, a movement he was well aware of.  He also has been mentioned as a kind of Catalonian Gustav Klimt with respect to his treatment of women in some of his paintings.

"I find Anglada something of a mixed bag.  Much is rather heavily painted and, due to influence by the modernist styles that abounded in his day, there is inconsistency in his approach and little in the way of artistic progression.  Nevertheless, several of his paintings are arrestingly interesting, particularly those featuring women and some of his later landscapes."

A few paintings featuring women were included in that post.  Today I present more examples, none of which aside from a drawing are conventionally representational.  After all, Anglada was a Modernist


Le Paon Blanc - 1904
"The White Peacock" - shown in the previous Anglada post.

Blanquita - 1902
From his Paris years.

Woman in flower garden
I have no information about this, though her dress suggests circa 1915.

Mur céramique - 1904
Parisian women before a "ceramic" wall.

Fleurs de Paris - ca.1902-03

Nightbird - c.1913
By this time Anglada's women were less fuzzy-looking.

Girls of Burriana - c.1910-11
Strong colors and elaborate decoration.

Woman with fan - 1908
For some reason her face is shaded: to highlight the costume?

La maja del Guadalquivir - c.1943
A fairly late example of a female portrayal.  Strong colors, décor, and sharply drawn face.

Drawing of a woman's face
I don't have a date for this.  The eyes seem too wide for her face.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Up Close: Pauline Astor by John Singer Sargent

Pauline Astor (ca. 1880-1972) was the daughter of William Waldorf Astor and granddaughter of John Jacob Astor III.  Her portrait was painted ca. 1898-99 by John Singer Sargent.  As best I can discover, it is in the William Morris Collection, and was on loan to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, where I saw in in January of 2010.

I took a few photos of it with a digital camera that seldom did a decent job of focusing on paintings.

Sargent made Miss Astor seem like a very attractive young woman, so I thought I'd pass my photos along in this post.  Click on the images to enlarge somewhat.


The portrait as seen at the Huntington.

Zooming in to typical portrait detail.

Showing Sargent's treatment of fabrics.

Closeup of Pauline's face.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Coles Phillips' Fadeaway Illustrations

Clarence Coles Phillips (1880-1927) lived a short, but highly productive life as an illustrator.  He was and is famed for his striking "fadeaway" compositions where areas of the subject's clothing color are identical to the flat background's color.

Two biographical sources (that differ in a few details) are here and here.

Much of Phillips' work was not in the fadeaway style.  I cover that in a separate post.  I think that it's likely that he would have abandoned fadeaway had he lived longer, because most illustrations in that style were made around the 1910-20 decade.

Below are examples of fadeaway illustrations.  Images are in chronological order; click on them to enlarge.


Life cover - 22 December 1910
Phillips' earliest fadeaways were for Life magazine covers.

Life cover - 28 September 1911
A more interesting design.

Good Housekeeping cover - November 1912
He also did many covers for Good Housekeeping.  The model for this cover and the one above seems to be the same -- perhaps his wife.

Flanders automobile advertisement - 1912
But fadeaway was rare for his car subjects.

Good Housekeeping cover art - March 1913
This seems to be painted using gouache.  The reproduction process in those days obliterated the brushwork, creating a uniform surface.

Good Housekeeping cover - Novemebr 1917
Another striking design.

Life cover - 7 April 1921

The Magic Hour - Oneida Silversmiths - 1924
In the Kelly Collection of American Illustration Art.

The Magic Hour - Oneida Silversmiths - detail
My photo.  The dark bar at the top is part of the frame.